Avira’s Phantom VPN comes from one of the more famous antivirus companies around. But making a high-quality VPN is a very different game.
Phantom VPN offers a modest network of 50 servers in 36 countries. With AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN support, and essential features like a kill switch, this service looks compact and secure.
However, looks can be deceiving. There’s much more you need to know about this VPN before the final verdict. Off the bat, though, 50 servers is going to cause issues for heavy users, so looking to a more reliable partner, like NordVPN, may be a better option.
And while it can bypass Netflix’s geoblocks, the low server count can cause slow speeds and lagging. Want speedy, hassle-free streaming?
Let’s get started with our in-depth review!
Streaming – Does Avira Phantom VPN Work with Netflix?
Bypassing the tough Netflix geoblocks can be an issue even for the best VPNs. Ideally, you want lots of servers and special streaming features for reliable access.
This is why Phantom VPN surprised us. Despite its barebones package and average server network, it managed to unblock Netflix across several regions (US, UK, and the Netherlands).
We had no luck with other streams like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO GO. This isn’t a surprise, as popular streaming services are constantly adding in new blocks to prevent VPN access.
In short, Phantom VPN successfully gets past Netflix – at least for now. Whether you’ll be able to watch your favorite shows is another story. Its speeds are slow (as you will soon see), so expect a fair amount of buffering and fuzzy pictures.
Speed Test – How Fast Is Avira Phantom VPN?
We tested Phantom VPN with a 75 Mbps connection. Here’s our speed without a VPN:
We were off to a promising start. The VPN showed some impressive results when we used the Nearest Location feature:
Then, we looked at the US New York server, which we also used for the US Netflix tests:
The connection was still fast enough for hassle-free streaming, but a 70% drop isn’t what you want to see. Especially if you have a slower connection by default.
We thought we’d get better speeds on the UK server, as it was much closer to our test location:
We were wrong. The VPN was even more sluggish here.
Unfortunately, the speed tests were mostly disappointing. In most cases, Phantom VPN performed well when we picked servers close to our real location, but the slowdown became serious as we moved farther away.
You should expect a drop in quality when you connect to a server overseas, but it shouldn’t be that big.
Even on nearby servers, Phantom VPN was sometimes unbearably slow. We had our worst result on the France server:
Overall, streaming fans and power users won’t be impressed by these numbers. It seems Avira doesn’t put speed high on its list of priorities.
Is Avira Phantom VPN Good for Torrenting?
There’s nothing more annoying than a VPN provider staying silent on important features.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what Avira does when it comes to torrenting.
Technically, Phantom VPN allows P2P connections on its servers. We know that because we tried it – not because Avira reassured us.
There’s no mention of torrents on the VPN’s page, and you won’t find any useful information in the FAQ. Maybe it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation – but it doesn’t work for us.
It’s like Avira refuses to acknowledge that many people use a VPN for safer torrenting. For that alone, we believe you’ll be better off with a VPN that openly supports P2P and offers some helpful features for the job.
Security – Is Avira Phantom VPN Safe?
On paper, Phantom VPN seems to provide all you need for safe and private browsing. Does this claim hold when you take a closer look?
Let’s start with the logging policy.
Does Avira Phantom VPN Keep Logs?
Avira is brief, clear, and transparent when it comes to the data it tracks.
It includes minor bandwidth logs (how much data you’ve used), whether you’re a free or paying user, and some diagnostic data. The last one is entirely optional, and you can turn it off inside the client:
The good news – none of your personal information is logged. Avira doesn’t track IP addresses or browsing histories when you use Phantom VPN. It also doesn’t store any info on the files you download or websites you visit.
It’s not a true zero-logging policy, but it’s good enough. There’s one more thing, though.
Avira, and by extension Phantom VPN, is based in Germany. Two issues here – first, Germany has some serious data retention laws, and Avira has to comply with them.
Second, Germany is part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance, and it’s been known to share surveillance information with other members – even the NSA.
This may be enough to discourage privacy-conscious users from this VPN. But what matters most is that Phantom VPN doesn’t collect anything sensitive about you. Despite the problem with jurisdiction, we consider this VPN a friend of your privacy.
Does Avira Phantom VPN Have an Adblocker?
While Phantom VPN lacks adblocking and anti-malware features (kind of ironic, don’t you think?), it does come with some basic security features.
We were glad to see DNS leak protection and a working kill switch. There’s also an auto-connect feature for unsecured wi-fi.
It’s true Avira could have included a lot more. But as far as antivirus companies and their VPNs go, you could have a lot less – AVG Secure VPN, for example, doesn’t even have a kill switch.
Does Avira Phantom VPN Work in China?
Avira hasn’t introduced any special servers or settings to tackle heavy censorship. As a result, Phantom VPN isn’t suitable for countries like China.
Bypassing the Great Firewall is a challenge for most VPNs. Usually, you’ll need special obfuscation protocols and stealth servers. Not many providers take the extra steps to include those. Sadly, Phantom VPN is no exception.
Price and Value for Money
Avira Phantom VPN is firmly in the budget category, based on features and price.
With an affordable monthly plan and even cheaper yearly package, it offers good value for money.
Android and iOS users can also get an interesting deal with the monthly mobile plan. For pocket change, you get a great baseline VPN, unlimited bandwidth, and as many connected devices as you want.
And that’s not everything!
Does Avira Phantom VPN Have a Free Version?
Avira offers a free version of Phantom VPN. The full range of servers is available, and you get the auto-connect feature.
There are some restrictions. One of them is the bandwidth limit – your monthly cap is set to 500 MB, and it can be doubled to 1 GB once you register. Sadly, free users also lose the kill switch feature.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Refund Policy
Avira offers a 30-day refund period for all of its products.
But there’s a catch.
To get your money back, you’ll need to contact not Avira, but the billing partner Cleverbridge.
This can prove annoying, as Cleverbridge can also redirect you to Avira, and you can end up in a tedious back-and-forth until you finally receive your refund.
Is Avira Phantom VPN Compatible with My Device?
If you’re running one of the four major platforms, yes! Phantom VPN is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
There’s also a Chrome extension, but make no mistake – it’s less of a VPN and more of a proxy service.
If you were hoping to use Phantom VPN on your router or Linux machine, you’re out of luck. There’s no support for smart TVs or gaming consoles, either.
Avira Phantom VPN is solid here, thanks to the 256-bit encryption together with the OpenVPN protocol.
One thing that bothered us was the lack of OpenVPN features. You can’t choose ports or switch between OpenVPN UDP/TCP.
Since Avira doesn’t give you the OpenVPN configuration files, you can’t run a manual setup. This means you’re left with a streamlined client that doesn’t offer any room for tweaking.
Avira Phantom VPN Customer Service
The first thing we check when we’re looking at customer support is live chat. Avira disappointed us here – the closest option is a phone call.
You can also get in touch via email, but you’ll have to wait at least a day or two before you hear back.
The worst part is Avira, like many other companies with multiple products, doesn’t seem to have any dedicated VPN experts to answer your questions.
Oh, and you can only use the above if you’re a paying customer. Free users will have to settle for the knowledge base, which doesn’t have any in-depth information.
From what we’ve seen, Phantom VPN doesn’t offer the customer service its users deserve.
Avira Phantom VPN is a joy to use – but don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.
The interface is the same for the free and paid versions. It’s all about simple protection here:
One click (or tap) of the big green button, and the VPN is on.
You’ll connect to the nearest location by default, but clicking on it will bring up the server menu, where you can choose a specific country:
The search bar is helpful, and it’s always nice to see server ping. This makes finding optimal VPN locations much easier.
Overall, Phantom VPN earns a great score for user experience. That said, there isn’t much to leave you confused.
The big question – is Avira Phantom VPN worth it?
If you’re looking for nothing but the VPN basics, then yes.
There really isn’t much to hate about this VPN – it’s cheap, compact, and easy to use. You can get some good tests with the free version before you commit to a subscription, and mobile users get a seriously good deal as well.
But there isn’t much to like, either. The slow speeds and lack of open P2P support mean this VPN isn’t a favorite for streaming or torrenting. If you want to stream anywhere in the world, these top five VPNs offer lightning-fast speeds and HD quality for streaming on Netflix.
And even though the logging policy is favorable, it’s not perfect.
In the end, nothing stands out here. Avira Phantom VPN is a casual service that works best for light browsing and baseline protection. If you want anything fancier, the competition is a step ahead.
Avira Phantom VPN Pro is a VPN application that provides secure and anonymous access to the Internet. Although it’s also available as a free version, the free VPN offers limited functionality, only 500MB/month data volume and no technical support. The Pro version comes with unlimited data volume, fail-safe kill switch and round the clock technical support.
The VPN works with Windows, Macs, Android and iOS. Avira claims that their Phantom VPN is unhackable as it blocks all attempts to steal financial information, private files, passwords and other sensitive information. It also protects users from advertisers and eavesdroppers as they see the users as anonymous entities browsing from constantly changing locations. The VPN ensures anonymous and uncensored online browsing and provides access to blocked or restricted content.
Avira Phantom VPN Pro provides secure access to the internet and ensures that users are not being tracked by their ISP and spied by snoops. It enables users to access their favorite content without any geographical restrictions and allows them to surf anonymously. Users can surf securely as the communications are encrypted, even when connected to a public Wi-Fi. It makes it almost impossible for advertisers to trace users by masking the IP address and routes all the data through a secure tunnel. However, compared to other popular VPN solutions, Phantom VPN is backed by only 20 server locations around the globe, which indicates that the VPN is meant for specific regions.
Phantom VPN does not log or track user activities and secures untrusted networks automatically. The VPN also helps site owners understand how their sites look in other countries and rank on international search engines. The VPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is the industry standard and almost impossible to break. It ensures that the ISP is not able to see users’ online activities and prevents the IP addresses from leaking. This means that companies trying to track an IP protected by the VPN won’t be able to get any personally identifiable information about the user. Users can anonymously watch their favorite TV shows, listen to music, defeat ISP throttling and connect to public networks without worrying about their online privacy and security.
- Windows, Mac, Android and iOS support
- Access censored networks
- Bypass ISP throttling
- 256-bit encryption
- Secure public network connectivity
- DND leak prevention
- Auto-connect Wi-Fi
- Kill Switch
- 20 server locations
- Leak-proof IP
- No activity tracking
Knowing that businesses have distinctive business-related demands, it is rational that they abstain from buying a one-size-fits-all, “perfect” solution. However, it is nearly futile to discover such a software system even among widely used software systems. The practicable thing to undertake can be to spell out the different essential functions that merit inspection like critical features, price terms, skill capability of staff, company size, etc. Next, you should conduct your product research through and through. Browse through these Avira Phantom VPN Pro evaluations and explore each of the software solutions in your list in detail. Such all-encompassing product research makes sure you weed out poorly fit software products and select the one that has all the function your company requires.
Position of Avira Phantom VPN Pro in our main categories:
Avira Phantom VPN Pro is one of the top 20 VPN Services products
If you are considering Avira Phantom VPN Pro it could also be a good idea to investigate other subcategories of VPN Services collected in our base of B2B software reviews.
Since each enterprise has unique business wants, it is sensible for them to refrain from looking for a one-size-fits-all faultless software application. Needless to say, it would be futile to try to find such a platform even among widely used software applications. The clever thing to do would be to list the various vital aspects that require consideration such as main features, budget, skill levels of employees, company size etc. Then, you should do your groundwork thoroughly. Read some Avira Phantom VPN Pro VPN Services reviews and look into each of the other solutions in your shortlist in detail. Such in-depth groundwork can make sure you discard ill-fitting systems and select the app that presents all the elements you require for business success.
Avira Phantom VPN Pro Pricing Plans:
Avira Phantom VPN Pro offers three SMB and enterprise pricing plans for users to choose from. Give the details a look, and select the best plan for your business:
- Monthly Plan: $10/month
- Annual Plan: $6.50/month
- Mobile Only: $5.99/month
Positive Social Media Mentions 19
Negative Social Media Mentions 12
We realize that when you make a decision to buy VPN Services it’s important not only to see how experts evaluate it in their reviews, but also to find out if the real people and companies that buy it are actually satisfied with the product. That’s why we’ve created our behavior-based that gathers customer reviews, comments and Avira Phantom VPN Pro reviews across a wide range of social media sites. The data is then presented in an easy to digest form showing how many people had positive and negative experience with Avira Phantom VPN Pro. With that information at hand you should be equipped to make an informed buying decision that you won’t regret.
- On Premise
- Monthly payment
- Annual Subscription
- Small Business
- Medium Business
- live support
Avira Phantom VPN Pro Pricing Plans:
Avira Phantom VPN Pro offers three SMB and enterprise pricing plans for users to choose from. Give the details a look, and select the best plan for your business:
- Monthly Plan: $10/month
- Annual Plan: $6.50/month
- Mobile Only: $5.99/month
Avira Phantom VPN locks-down your private files, keeping account login information, passwords, and other sensitive data private. Their VPN software is using a VPN protocol called OpenVPN and your traffic is encrypted through 256-bit AES encryption
It hides your browsing data from advertisers, so they can’t track which sites you visit or even where you’re really located.
And it helps you get around geo-restrictions. That way, you can visit any website, anytime, anywhere, without your government dictating what’s ‘off limits.’
You can use any online service without running the risk of your ISP throttling your connection.
But is their VPN service worth it? Let’s find out in our in-depth review.
Avira PhantomVPN Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#34 out of 78 VPNs|
|LOG FILES:||Grey Area|
|LOCATIONS:||38 countries, 38 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Email and Ticket|
Avira Phantom Pros
1. Industry Standard OpenVPN + 256-bit AES Encryption
AVIRA offers AES 256-bit encryption. This is the best money can buy right now.
It’s so secure that banks use it. And it’s reported that no brute-force attacks can hack into it, either.
The 256-bit encryption involves several layers of security, so it would take modern computers up to 13.8 billion years to finally crack the code.
Avira uses the OpenVPN protocol for both Windows, Mac, and Android apps (if downloaded from their website). If you download from the AppStore instead, it’s IPSec. And iOS devices use Ikev2.
2. No IP, DNS & WebRTC Leaks Detected
Having state-of-the-art technology is great.
But only if it actually works.
Here’s what I mean:
VPNs are supposed to hide your location. And they do a majority of the time.
Poor ones are still susceptible to the occasional DNS leak, however, which give away your true location to the whole world.
That’s why we always run several (not just one) test to confirm whether our connection is rock-solid or porous.
None of the DNS/IP/WebRTC tools we used indicated leaks.
But let’s double-check to be sure.
Next, we uploaded their installer files to VirusTotal.com. Unfortunately, some of these install files you rely on can carry trojans and other malware.
In this case, though, every file appeared squeaky clean.
3. Works With Netflix (Last Test: July 2018)
If you were visiting a foreign country just a few years ago, you could download a VPN, switch your server location back home, and watch all of the old shows and movies you were familiar with.
But over the past few years, licensing issues have forced Netflix to get better at identifying and blocking this trick.
It didn’t take long for them to be able to pick out and stop pretty much every major VPN service out there.
There are holes in their service, though.
Sometimes, if one country is blocked under a VPN connection, you can simply switch around to different servers around the globe and eventually find one that works.
We did this same cat-and-mouse game with Avira, but were pleasantly blown away by the results.
Netflix worked on Avira across all of them!
We were able to stream content across North America, the U.K., and Europe.
- Canada Netflix working
- US (NY) Netflix working
- US (Washington) Netflix working
- UK Netflix working
- Netherlands Netflix working
Sometimes, you can see the home screen and click through to a title…
… only to be blocked at the last second when you hit “Play.”
But in this case, we were able to stream pretty much whatever we wanted.
4. Easy to Use VPN Software
Downloading the VPN client will also give you access to the entire Avira Dashboard.
That’s perfect if you want to use their other services, but a hassle if you’re just looking for a simplified VPN.
The client sits in the system tray, and you can have a connection launch upon startup.
You can also opt out of sending diagnostic data back to Avira, which is another nice perk for retaining as much privacy as possible.
Switching server locations is also a breeze. You don’t even have to disconnect from the current location, just click a different server, then the app will automatically connect to a new one.
All in all, no major problems or issues! A pretty smooth experience.
5. Unlimited Devices + Built-in Kill Switch
Avira’s free VPN tier allows up to five simultaneous connections.
That’s pretty good, believe it or not!
Some paid VPNs only allow three at a time. That’s barely enough to cover your work, home, and cell devices.
The best news is that Avira’s paid plan will give you access to unlimited devices!
Remember a few minutes ago when we were bummed that they didn’t connect to routers?
Well, that’s not such a big deal now if you’re taking advantage of unlimited connections under the paid plan.
Avira’s Phantom VPN is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t include a lot of additional features that others might. But they do the basics well.
One study found that 85% of 283 VPNs leaked user traffic, while another 38% added malware or adware. Avira does neither of these in our experience.
Otherwise, we were slightly disappointed that they only have 36 total servers around the world right now.
Most of the major cities and locations you can think of are covered.
But the limitations mean:
- Your own city might not be covered if you’re in a small locale.
- And there might only be one or two servers in your desired location. So if there’s an issue with connecting or speed on those, you’re out of luck.
The paid version of the software also comes with a kill switch that will sever a connection before accidentally exposing your session data.
You can also customize it to fire instantly. That way, there’s no potential risk of you manually forgetting or not noticing.
Avira Phantom Cons
1. Some Minor Logging
Many less-than-forthright VPN companies will declare that they “don’t log” on their site’s homepage… only to bury the actual details somewhere in the Terms of Service nobody reads.
Thankfully, Avira puts their logging policy details front-and-center. Scroll down a little bit after visiting their site, and they’ll tell you exactly what is and is not tracked.
Avira will keep some record of diagnostic information for any potential bugs and product issues users might run into. But this part is optional, so you can toggle your own settings inside the VPN client.
Avira will also look at whether you’re a free or paid user, and then how much data you’re consuming to tie it back into their own infrastructure costs.
So the implication is that paid users might not have the same level of data tracking, because technically paid plans offer “unlimited bandwidth.”
And that’s it!
Pretty good, right?
Avira claims to not track sites you visit, your IP or even the ones from the sites you visit, and any other ‘action’-oriented data, like downloads.
This is one of the better logging policies we’ve seen.
Which is a massive benefit because their home country of Germany already infamously shares personal data with as many as fourteen countries around the globe.
2. Located in Germany (14 Eyes)
Avira Operations GmbH & Co is headquartered by Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany.
Beautiful setting, no doubt. Not-so-beautiful regional privacy jurisdiction, though.
A trans-Atlantic alliance has existed since 1965. Governments from the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have shared sensitive espionage data.
This Five Eyes alliance has since expanded over the past few decades to nine and then fourteen total countries.
Germany officially expressed interest in joining Five Eyes in 2013. But Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA documents confirmed that they’ve already been included in this 14-eye expansion, along with Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.
The point of this historical history?
A court order from any of these governments would force your VPN company to immediately disclose information, that would then be shared across half the globe.
The good news, in this case, is that Avira won’t have a lot of information from you. Their relatively-transparent logging policy will save your data from falling into the wrong hands.
(And we mean lots of hands.)
3. Very Slow Server Network
VPNs anonymize and lock down your data.
But it often comes at a cost.
The first thing to go is speed, where your connection can get slowed down anywhere from 10% to 100%+ slower than normal.
Think about that for a second:
100% slower means your lightening-fast connection will slow to barely a crawl. Pages might take twice as long to load.
So how did Avira fare?
Unfortunately, not so good.
Here’s a quick look at our benchmark connection speeds without a VPN:
We then connected to their servers in two different locations to be sure.
The first was an EU Netherlands Server, which only posted Download speeds of 6.98 Mbps and Upload speeds of 9.02 Mbps.
EU Netherlands Server:
- Ping: 47ms
- Download: 6.98 Mbps
- Upload: 9.02 Mbps
And the US server wasn’t much better. In fact, it wasn’t ‘better’ at all.
It was way worse.
- Ping: 194 ms
- Download: 4.34 Mbps
- Upload: 2.23 Mbps
This means that you can expect Download speeds of 95.53% slower than normal, and Upload speeds up to 95.79% slower.
This is an extremely slow VPN option.
Some, like PIA, barely slowed at all.
4. No Router, TV or Game Console Compatibility
Avira is widely available across all Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS devices.
They also have a Chrome extension, which means you don’t have to install a separate client or app to your device.
Unfortunately, that’s where their hospitality ends.
You cannot connect through game consoles or SmartTVs. You can’t set it up on a router to protect all connected devices. And you can’t even use Linux.
Those aren’t the only things they ignore.
You also can’t use the Avira Phantom VPN alongside TOR.
Why is this a problem?
The Onion Router relays your traffic signals across several points around the world. Think of it like a Plan B for keeping your location secure.
That’s especially critical in countries around the world that monitor and censor the internet.
The problem with TOR is that it’s not always secure. Savvy people or countries can still ‘eavesdrop’ on different relay points.
You can even run the risk of bumping into “malicious exit nodes” set up to figure out who you are and what you’re doing.
Adding a VPN to the mix virtually eliminates these risks. That way, you can browse securely without worrying about political retribution.
Avira’s tough stance here makes it a gamble if you’re in one of these countries with strict oversight.
5. No Info On Torrenting
Supposedly, Avira allowed downloading a torrent file of Ubuntu.
But we’ve been unable to confirm on their site the exact policy.
We went ahead and asked a question in their Community Forum, but are still awaiting a response:
To date, we haven’t heard back from them in this case. So I recommend not using it for Torrenting.
6. Virtually No Customer Support
Avira offers zero support for free users.
Instead, they’re left to fend for themselves, digging through the Knowledge Base for answers.
We’ve tried asking questions in the community forums, but are still waiting days later. So good luck if that’s your only option.
It took about a day and a half to get a response:
Paid plan users will get access to phone and mail support in multiple languages.
You have to login first, with the same email address under your paid plan, before being able to submit any questions.
We wanted to test out their support time, so we posed a simple question about the available protocols.
Remember, we already had to purchase a plan to get to this stage. So we were just looking for a few recommendations.
They emailed us back within about one day, which isn’t too bad on the surface.
But when we started reading the answer, we were a little puzzled.
The answer their support rep provided only included instructions for downloading and installing the correct client.
This didn’t answer our question in the slightest.
My only assumption is that they want us to download the client, first, before discussing available protocols?
But a straight answer would have been preferable.
Instead, we have to swap emails back and forth over a multi-day period to get a simple answer that would only take two seconds to normally answer.
Kinda frustrating, to be honest.
After swapping another round of emails, they came back with:
Ok, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for a second. Maybe they don’t know which specific protocols are used on their product. (Even though they should.)
But not knowing what ‘protocols’ are in the first place? That’s troubling.
Avira Phantom VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods
- Free plan – all features, except there’s a 500mb/month limit on unregistered users, and a 1GB/month limit on registered users. Registered means registering for a free Avira account on their website.
- Monthly plan – $10/month for unlimited devices. Billed monthly, cancel anytime. Available for 1-month trial.
- Annual plan – $78/year, or a savings of 35% per year; $6.50/month, compared to $10 on the monthly plan. Unlimited devices. Billed annually.
- There’s also a monthly plan for Android & iOS only at $5.99/month, available as an in-app purchase. Unlimited mobile devices. Billed monthly, cancel anytime.
All paid Avira Phantom plans feature a 30-day refund policy. So you can go ahead with the annual plan to save the most money, yet still back out within 30 days if you’re unhappy and get your money back.
Avira accepts all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and JCB), and PayPal.
Unfortunately, they do not accept cryptocurrencies or other anonymous payment methods.
Do We Recommend Avira Phantom VPN?
We liked that they offered a free plan right out of the gate. That way, you could test drive their service before upgrading.
Their logging policy was refreshingly transparent (and fair), too.
But unfortunately, their awful speed performance, combined with frustrating service, and lack of features like router compatibility or torrenting leave a lot to be desired.
Especially when you consider that their $6.50-$10/month pricing puts them in direct competition with the best in the business.
In a Nutshell
Avira VPN is a leader in internet security and is now advancing in VPN, and continues to offer more. With end-to-end encryption and a firm no logging policy, as well as providing an excellent streaming experience, Avira Phantom VPN is an ideal choice.
- Extremely affordable price
- No logging, monitoring or third party tracking
- Unlimited bandwidth 99.9% uptime
- Only available for Windows and Android
- Low number of servers
Avira’s Phantom VPN doesn’t have much in the way of advanced features, but its focus on privacy, security and access is evident. Plans include an antivirus feature that helps to protect security by fighting off malicious software (malware) such as spyware and adware.
All users are guaranteed end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption and a beautifully-designed app that’s simple and intuitive to use - even if you’ve never tried a VPN before.
More importantly, Avira has a firm no logging policy and is a member of the ITSMIG (Teletrust IT Security Association Germany), a voluntary association committed to producing software that’s free of hidden backdoors.
You’ll also get access to free antivirus software and Avira’s free Scout browser, which blocks unwanted scripts, prevents third party tracking and ensures you always browse the web using a secure connection.
- End-to-end 256-bit AES encryption
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Free Scout browser
- Chrome extension
- OpenVPN protocol (for Windows/Android), IPSec (for Mac and iOS)
- Kill switch (with Windows)
- PNP File sharing and torrenting
- DNS leak protection
- 5 devices
The Speed Test
While Phantom VPN has a relatively low number of servers (over 34 countries) and IP addresses (only about 1,000), it still boasts 99.9% uptime, unlimited bandwidth and excellent speeds - all on an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections. Also, just 2 years ago Avira only had servers in 13 countries, so as you can see, Avira is continuously expanding its service.
There is also no speed throttling, meaning you won’t be penalized with slower speeds if you’re a heavy user.
Pricing and Deals
*Last updated: July 2019
At $3.72 a month, Avira Phantom VPN’s price definitely falls within the below average range, especially when you consider that all plans include 5 simultaneous devices and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Avira’s website specifically lists PNP file sharing and torrenting capabilities. No further information is provided, but user reviews are positive.
It’s likely that for many people, choosing a VPN provider is contingent on whether it can unlock Netflix and connect them to their favorite TV series and movies. Avira’s website makes no mention of Netflix, while it does guarantee access to platforms such as Hulu, Amazon instant video, and HBO Now. Independent reviews, however, have reported success accessing Netflix with Avira Phantom, and Avira’s FAQ recommends downloading the free trial and testing it out on platforms not specifically mentioned in the list.
Setting up Avira is done through an app that requires installation and a single-click process. Setup is the same for desktop and mobile users.
An app is available for both Android and Apple products.
How Does Avira Phantom Compare
If you use a free plan you don’t have much in terms of live support, but paid plans include access to premium customer support, either by opening a support ticket or via phone.
There’s also a regularly updated blog and a forum which, unfortunately, does not seem to be very active, at least for the time being.
Perhaps Avira’s greatest advantage over competitors is its “Hire an Expert” section, where you can get in touch with a tech consultant via email or live chat. The service is currently available in 10 languages and most of the experts offer a first consultation free of charge.
Finally, you can get in touch with an expert from Avira through its social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as a very helpful WordPress blog, which gives users the latest on security innovations, trends and developments. The social sites are very active and in addition to giving users an avenue for getting in touch with Avira, provide several educational videos, covering everything from Avira functionality to VPN advantages.
Ease of Use
Avira’s website is easy to navigate and even if you don’t have past experience with its products in the past, you will be able to sign up with ease and find all the relevant information. No matter which devices you choose to use - Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad or Mac, Avira has a VPN for you to block regional restrictions, secure your connections and make all of your online activity anonymous. Plus, it allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, which gives users a ton of flexibility.
No other VPN service we reviewed makes this possible (unless you connect all your devices to the same router).
Avira Phantom VPN bills itself as made “for everyone” - but what exactly does this mean? Let’s take a close look at who Avira thinks can benefit from its VPN services:
- Movie Lovers - 100% freedom to access Netflix, Popcorn time and more.
- World Travelers - access your favorite websites anywhere in the world.
- Privacy Minded - stay private by keeping your online activity personal.
- Gamers - challenge your friends from anywhere on the globe.
- Website Owners - see how your site looks from foreign search engines.
- Security Aware - evade hackers that want to steal your personal information.
Q: What information does Avira track?
A: According to the website, Avira tracks information solely for the purpose of diagnostics and internal use. Here is a breakdown of what information it does and does not track:
What it does track:
- Diagnostic data used for product improvement. You can opt out of this at anytime through the interface.
- Whether each client is a paid or free user
- The amount of data each customer consumes
What it doesn’t track:
- Websites you have visited
- The IP addresses you used while surfing
- Your permanent IP address
- Files you’ve downloaded and websites you’ve visited
Q: Where are Avira’s servers?
A: 34 different countries plus 12 US cities.
With solid encryption, excellent speeds and a bunch of freebies thrown in for good measure, Avira’s Phantom VPN is definitely worth a try. Plus, with a focus on security and virus protection you can browse, surf and stream without fear.
Avira has more than 30 years experience in the digital security and privacy sector, and helped pioneer the freemium model for business software. The company has won several awards for its security products, including product of the year for file detection in 2016.
Avira Phantom VPN's free tier is speedy and easy to use, but its 1GB of monthly data won't get you far.
- Ultrafast setup process
- Bonus data allowance for registering
- Reasonably good performance
- Maximum of 1GB of data per month
- Small selection of connection points
Phantom VPN, operated by German antivirus maker Avira, is quite fast and very easy to use. The free version limits usage to a measly 500MB a month, but it doubles that allotment to 1GB if you register with a valid email address.
Unfortunately, that's chicken feed compared with Windscribe's 10GB monthly free plan, which we think is the best free VPN service, and won't satisfy anyone but a holiday traveler checking email.
The Truth About Completely Free VPNs
We can't recommend any entirely free VPN service because too many of them inject ads onto websites, borrow your bandwidth or sell your browsing history. The companies simply don't have an incentive to keep your private data private.
It is better to use "freemium" VPN services that offer limited free tiers as a teaser for unlimited paid service. Such free offerings generally cap data usage or throttle broadband speed, but at least you'll know how the services make money.
Limited free tiers are primarily useful for travelers or people who take laptops to coffee shops. For 24/7 home VPN service, use an unlimited paid VPN plan.
What You Get for Free
As mentioned above, Avira Phantom VPN gives you 500MB of free data per month with no strings attached, and 1GB if you register. Free users don't get tech support, but they do get access to all of Avira's 82 VPN servers in 24 countries. Many other services' free tiers limit server choices.
Unlimited data access via Avira Phantom VPN Pro costs $5.99 a month for mobile devices, or $6.50 a month for desktops as well; the latter plan can be bought for $78 on a yearly basis.
Phantom VPN has client software for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. You'll need the software to connect, so forget about Phantom VPN if you're using Linux or Windows Phone.
Phantom VPN's user interface shows you when you're connected and what your virtual location is. You can pick which VPN server to connect to from a pull-down menu. The software also lets you set up a Wi-Fi auto-connect sequence for trusted networks.
With Phantom, you can use Open VPN (for Windows or Android) or L2TP/IPsec (for macOS and iOS) to secure your connection with its VPN servers. Because Avira is based in Germany, it should be beyond the reach of American search warrants -- although German police are known for heavy-handed digital snooping.
We tested Avira Phantom VPN's free offering and those of eight other services: Hide.me, Hotspot Shield, the Opera browser VPN, ProtonVPN, Speedify, SurfEasy, TunnelBear and Windscribe.
Testing was done at a suburban New York home provisioned with regular consumer cable-broadband service. Each service was tested for connection time, latency (network delay) and upload and download speeds using Ookla's Speedtest.net online service.
Each parameter was tested three times and then averaged. Because network speeds can vary, a baseline reading without any VPN service active was taken before each round of tests.
It took us less than a minute to download Avira Phantom VPN's 5.2MB Windows package, install it on our HP EliteBook X360 1020 G2 notebook and get online. Connecting to Avira's New York City server took a relatively long 7.2 seconds, although TunnelBear, Opera and Hide.me took longer.
But Phantom VPN's latency was 18.6 milliseconds, an increase of only 24 percent over the non-VPN ping time and the least of any regular VPN service. Most other services' latencies were at least double the non-VPN times. (Speedify's latency was actually less than the baseline, but that service performs unique network tricks and we're treating it separately.)
Phantom VPN downloaded data at an average rate of 78.2 megabits per second (Mbps), a drop of 56 percent from the pre-VPN levels but still among the best. Only Windscribe and Hotspot Shield did better.
Avira Phantom VPN uploaded data at 28.3 Mbps, a reduction of 20 percent from pre-VPN rates and again one of the better results. Phantom VPN supported watching videos and listening to music without a hiccup.
Avira Phantom VPN's good performance is a step ahead of the crowd, but its paltry usage limits don't make it very useful. Go for Windscribe's 10GB free tier instead.
Nearly every antivirus company offers a VPN as part of its deluxe security suites. Typically these VPNs are based on white-label services from a third-party such as AnchorFree of Hotspot Shield fame. Avira took a different approach by building its own service called Phantom VPN Pro.
Phantom VPN is included for free in Avira Prime, the company’s all-in-one subscription service, but the VPN can also be purchased as a standalone service.
Features and services
Avira offers Phantom VPN at both free and paid tiers. The free service is limited to 500 megabytes per month, but you get most of the same features you do with the paid version. The three things the free version lacks are unlimited bandwidth, an internet kill switch, and tech support.
Avira Phanton VPN Pro with an active connection.
Avira says it doesn’t collect any information from free users but we still recommend paying for a VPN—especially since the monthly bandwidth is so limited.
Phantom VPN has a very basic interface that’s easy enough to use. If there’s one thing that users might find confusing it’s how to select country locations.
When you first see the dashboard, you’ll notice at the bottom it says “Virtual location:” followed by a link labeled “Nearest location.” If you want to just use the VPN, click Connect, and Phantom VPN finds its closest server to you.
Click the link instead itself, however, and it takes you to a list of possible locations under Settings > Select virtual location.
Yes, this location list could be easier for users to find. I’d prefer to see a large button that takes you to the list, or a drop-down menu in the center of the interface for choosing servers. One nice thing about Avira’s location list, however, is that it shows the ping time between you and each server location, which can help find the best possible location based on speed.
Once you select a location, Avira connects to it automatically. The color scheme of the main dashboard then turns green, and it displays a running total of how much bandwidth you’ve used.
There aren’t a ton of extra features in Phantom VPN. There’s an option to use the service’s kill switch under Settings > Block all internet traffic if VPN connection drops. You can choose to launch Phantom VPN when Windows boots, but this is not selected by default.
You can also specify that Phantom VPN should automatically connect when your device is on certain Wi-Fi networks. To use this feature, after you’ve connected to a Wi-Fi network, go to Settings > Auto-connect VPN for Wi-Fi networks. You’ll see a list of all the networks your device has used. Now click the slider next to the network that you want to use with the VPN, and you’re all set.
Phantom VPN Pro costs $78 per year for all your devices, or $71.88 for an Android- and iOS-only subscription. The mobile-only subscriptions are paid via in-app purchase.
Phanton VPN Pro’s location listing.
Avira supports unlimited simultaneous device connections from a single account, and when you install Phantom VPN it adds the company’s “Browser Safety” add-on. This add-on checks for malicious sites, which most modern browsers already do, and offers tracker protection, ad blocking, and protection against potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) during downloads.
Avira’s speeds were unimpressive overall, but as usual that doesn’t tell the whole story. Based on the average from five different locations around the world, Avira Phantom VPN was only able to retain 14.08 percent of the base speed. That’s not great, but individual speeds in the U.S., UK, and German locations were all good, hitting around 20Mbps each. The base speed on the day of testing was 89.60Mbps.
Privacy, anonymity, and trust
With a larger company like Avira it’s not a mystery who’s behind the service. Nevertheless, we’ll go through the details. Avira is headquartered at Kaplaneiweg 1, Tettnang, Germany, and its CEO is Travis Witteveen.
Avira says that while using the VPN, it does not track the websites you visit, your real IP address, the IP address you connect to, or any other online information such as files downloaded.
It does, however, track “diagnostic data,” which you can shut off at Settings > Send diagnostic data. Avira also tracks whether you’re a free or paid user. The company says it’s important for their “communications to be able to differentiate the two.” It also tracks the total amount of data you use.
Phantom VPN Pro’s settings.
To sign up for Avira Phantom VPN Pro, it asks for an email address and password. It also asks for your name, country location, and ZIP code.
For payments, Avira accepts credit cards, PayPal, and, as of June, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash payments via Bitpay.
Avira’s privacy policies have most of the right promises, though some people may not like the fact that Avira records bandwidth usage. As for anonymity, Avira’s policies are mixed. It doesn’t track anything you do, but it does want to know your name and your general location. In this, the fact that you can pay with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash is a plus.
Avira’s Phantom VPN Pro is pretty good. The interface could be a little easier to help users find a specific server location, but once you figure it out it’s fine.
It’s a little expensive at $78 per year, and you can definitely find VPNs with faster speeds. You can also find a better service if you want the best possible level of anonymity. What you get with Avira, however, is the comfort of knowing who’s behind your VPN, the knowledge that it’s being run by security experts, and a very liberal simultaneous use policy.
If that’s what you’re looking for, then Avira is great. If you are looking for better anonymity, and a wider variety of country locations, then look elsewhere.
Avira Phantom has clients for Windows, Android, macOS and iOS. When you connect with Android or Windows, then you’ll be using the OpenVPN protocol. This is the protocol of choice for most informed users as it has the advantage of being open source technology. Those who are using macOS or iOS will have the benefit of the IPSec protocol. Sophisticated users may note that there is a lack of choice when it comes to VPN protocols with this service. However, the average user is unlikely to notice.
Avira Phantom VPN does have a built-in kill switch, but this feature is only available to paying customers and not to those who opt to use the free version of this service. A kill switch is vital because it stops the apps on your computer from continuing to browse when the VPN suddenly loses its connection. This ensures that you maintain total privacythroughout your browsing session.
One mark in Avira Phantom’s favor is that it offers DNS protections. DNS is what transforms the URLs that people search for into IP addresses that computers can more readily understand. With an in-house DNS service, Avira Phantom makes it far more difficult for any third party to monitor a user’s DNS requests.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Server Locations
One of the reasons that Avira Phantom VPN is so slow may be related to its small number of servers. In total, it only has 40 servers in 20 countries. Most of these are located in Europe in countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, France, Romania, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and Spain. With its headquarters being in Germany, this concentration of European servers is not surprising.
Other servers are located in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. There are a dozen servers in the US, but with just one server in South America, and the Middle East and Africa are left out entirely. If you are living in one of these places, then it may be wise to seek a different VPN provider.
Avira Phantom’s website does promise that more locations will be added in the future, but there are no details concerning when this might happen or where those servers might be located.
Why is this relatively small number of servers significant?
When a VPN provider offers users only a few servers from which to choose, it means that the amount of traffic on each server is multiplied. As the server becomes increasingly crowded, performance, especially data transfer rates, is impaired.
Additionally, the greater the diversity of location of the servers, the more likely users are to find a server that’s close to home, which should improve browsing speed. If hiding your geographic location is critical, then having more servers from which to choose means better spoofing abilities as well.
If you look at the top picks for Australian VPNs, you’ll see that the majority of high quality services have thousands of servers available.
Using BitTorrent or P2P with Avira Phantom VPN
Members of Avira Phantom’s customer support team have said that they do not distinguish between different types of web traffic. This means that P2P and downloading of torrents are allowed. Unlike other VPN providers, file sharing is not limited to specific servers.
Avira Phantom VPN Speed Test Results
Most people who have used a VPN before know that these services can help to ensure your anonymity and privacy online. They also know that the price they pay for this anonymity is speed. A really reputable VPN provider with a network of thousands of servers and a good diversity of server locations will cause less impact to your data transfer rates.
Unfortunately for Avira Phantom VPN, their system suffers from an incredible lack of servers. This means incredibly slow data transfer rates. Benchmark testing without the use of a VPN gave download speeds of 98.71 Mbps and upload speeds of 53.00 Mbps. When Avira Phantom VPN was turned on, download rates dropped to just 6.98 Mbps while upload rates were a measly 9.02 Mbps.
This test was conducted using Avira’s server in the Netherlands, which is quite far away from the test computer’s actual location. Testing on a server in the US was even worse. This yielded results of 4.34 Mbps for downloads and 2.23 Mbps for uploads. That’s a download speed of approximately 95% slower than the results achieved without a VPN, and the upload speeds were similarly impacted.
When compared with some of the bigger VPN providers out there, these speed test results are pretty dismal. Imagine having to wait several minutes for a website to load. It would be immensely frustrating. You’d probably give up and walk away long before you’d accomplished anything.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Logging Policy
The company says that they keep data pertaining to diagnostic information so that they can keep ahead of bugs and other issues that are likely to interfere with user experience. Avira also may track whether specific users are paid or free customers because there are limits on how much data a free customer can use within a one-month period.
Beyond that, the company says that they do not track which websites its customers visit or their IP addresses.
Pricing Options for Avira Phantom VPN
Avira Phantom offers both free and paid versions of its service. The free version limits customers to just 500 MB per month. All traffic is encrypted, and it is possible to access geo-restricted sites. DNS leak prevention is included, and access via multiple devices is possible.
The paid version is called Phantom VPN Pro. Users who choose this service have access to unlimited data, as well as all of the features that are included in the free plan. However, the paid service comes with two major features that are not available to free customers. These features are the kill switch and customer support access.
Well Priced or Overpriced?
That’s right. Anyone who chooses not to pay for Avira Phantom VPN will not have the advantage of an automatic kill switch that protects them in the event that their VPN service becomes unavailable. Additionally, free customers have no access to customer support whatsoever.
The Avira Phantom VPN website does have a knowledge base, but it does not necessarily have the answers that users are seeking. User forums also are available, but experience suggests that this is not an efficient or effective manner for resolving service issues.
Having customer support with the paid plan is not necessarily a great deal, either. Access is available via phone or email, and support is provided for speakers of multiple languages. However, response times seem to be slow, stretching into hours or days. When answers are received, they frequently are not to the point, necessitating more back and forth. Resolving a simple issue could take a week or more.
The paid subscription costs $10 per month. This is not a bad price, but the lack of customer support and slow data transfer speeds mean that the service isn’t worth the expense. One nice thing is that Avira Phantom VPN makes it possible to connect an unlimited number of devices. This is especially good news for business owners or people who have lots of devices to protect.
Is Avira Phantom VPN Recommended?
Avira Phantom VPN is not recommended for a number of reasons. While it is available for use on devices running Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, it is not possible to set up this service on a router so that all of your connected devices enjoy the same protection. Additionally, it is not possible to use Avira Phantom in connection with TOR to provide yourself with an added layer of protection. SmartTVs, game consoles and Linux devices similarly are not compatible.
There are better services with much faster data transfer rates and competitive pricing readily available.
Avira's VPN offering is easy-to-use and a reliable performer, albeit a little overpriced for what you get.
- Free account doesn't require registration
- Reasonable performance
- Connect as many devices as you need
- Unblocks US Netflix, Disney+
- Free account limited to 500MB/ 1GB a month
- Can only be used with the official apps
- Few features
- Can't unblock BBC iPlayer, Amazon
Avira Phantom VPN is aimed very much at the novice user. The website landing page ignores almost every technical detail, and instead focuses on generic descriptions of the benefits of a: anonymity, encryption and accessing geoblocked content. But dig into the small print, and there are some details to be found.
The network has a minimal 150 servers spread across 37 countries, for instance. There are multiple locations in North America and Europe, and more in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico and Singapore.
There are native apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, as well as a Chrome extension. That's not bad, although there's no direct support for setting up routers, smart TVs, games consoles or anything else that might require custom OpenVPN configurations.Avira Phantom VPN makes its connections using the industry-standard OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption. That's good, too, but there's another 'but': you can't tweak OpenVPN in any way (switch between UDP and TCP connections, for instance), and you can't switch to another protocol, which can sometimes be useful if you can't get connected.
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Avira doesn't mention P2P support at all on the website, as far as we could see. A quick check shows torrenting seems to be available on all servers, although as the company seems so unenthusiastic about it, Phantom VPN wouldn't be our preferred torrent choice.
The service does have one unusual plus, with no 'buts' at all: you can connect to it with as many devices as you like. That's a notable improvement on many VPNs, which typically restrict you to 5 devices, although how many people really need to connect with more than that simultaneously is open to question.
Plans and pricing
Whatever you think of Phantom VPN's features, there's a definite benefit in its free account. This has by default a crippling 500MB/month data cap (plus you get five additional free minutes after hitting the limit, before disconnection), and you're not able to choose a location - the app automatically connects to your nearest server. Still, it doesn't require registration or an email address: just download, install and connect. Register with your email address and you'll get 1GB. You still won't be able to stream anything much, but for occasional low-bandwidth use, perhaps while travelling, it might be enough.
Upgrading to a paid account gets you unlimited data, a kill switch to reduce the chance of a data leak if the VPN connection drops, and technical support to keep everything running smoothly.
The service is priced at $10 billed monthly, dropping to $6.50 if you pay for a year up-front, or $5.99 to cover Android and iOS devices only.
Buy the service this way, and it looks expensive. Private Internet Access' annual plan 'only' covers up to 5 devices (mobile or desktop), but it's much cheaper at an effective $2.85 for the first term, $3.33 on renewal.
Avira's best deal comes in the form of its Avira Prime package, a full bundle of every application and service it sells: antivirus, internet security, password management, device cleanup and more. You can buy this for $75 in year one, so cheaper than the VPN alone, rising to a still decent $100 a year after that.
It's a powerful package - and if you're looking for a VPN and a new antivirus or security suite, getting them in a bundle like this could save you plenty of cash.
Privacy and logging
Avira Phantom VPN gets off to a good start in privacy terms with its no-registration-required free account.
The service does a decent job of protecting your traffic with its OpenVPN protocol support, although your inability to change or tweak these in any way (choose new ports, for instance) might be an issue for experts.
Avira's free plan doesn't give you a kill switch, which means there's a small chance your identity might be given away if the VPN connection drops. That's not a problem if you upgrade, though, and the free and paid editions both give you capable DNS leak protection. We checked the desktop and mobile clients with IPLeak, DNSLeakTest and DoILeak, and found no privacy leaks of any kind.
'If you use Avira Phantom VPN we do not collect any data about the web pages you visit or the services you use on the internet. The information we require for our billing system only tells us when someone was online and what data volume was utilized.'
In other words, there's limited session logging (connect and disconnect times, data used), but the company doesn't record any details on exactly what you're doing online. We'd like to see this spelled out in a little more detail, but it's still good news overall.
Installing Avira Phantom VPN on a PC is easy, although it does have the same issue as all other Avira software: you also get the standard Avira launcher, whether you want it or not.
(There's nothing wrong with the launcher - it's a simple way to view and manage all your Avira products from one place - but if you're only using Phantom VPN, it's just not necessary.)
The launcher can be safely ignored, though, and otherwise the client looks and feels much as you would expect. Launch it from a system tray icon, and click a button to connect to the nearest VPN server, or, if you have the paid version, choose your preferred option from a list. Easy.
The location picker is relatively basic, with no ability to view servers within a country, and no Favorites system. Location ping times help choose the best server for you, though, and switching servers is also very simple. There's no need to close the current connection before you can start another, just choose a new location and Avira automatically reconnects for you.
Avira Phantom VPN has expanded its Settings dialog since the service launched, and it now has a handful of useful options. The client can be set to launch when Windows starts, for instance, and automatically connect the VPN when you access specific networks. There's built-in blocking of malicious sites and content, a welcome touch as that's one of Avira's antivirus strengths, and the paid edition also gets a kill switch to block internet traffic if the VPN drops.
Connection handling is surprisingly poor, with the client not using notifications to tell users when it connects or disconnects.
When we forcibly closed the VPN, the client displayed a warning on its console, but that was all. If the VPN dropped while the client window was minimized, you'd have no clear way to tell that your traffic was now unprotected.
If you're using the paid plan, you can mostly avoid this by turning on the kill switch. Once it's active, we found the client noticed when the VPN dropped, instantly blocked our internet access, and displayed an alert with options to reconnect or unblock internet traffic.
Beware, though, the kill switch has one small weakness. If you select a new server while you're connected to another, the client disconnects from location #1, then begins reconnecting to #2, and traffic between the two sessions isn't protected. That's likely to be only for a second or two, maybe less, and you probably won't be switching while you're in the middle of some sensitive banking transaction, anyway. But it is vulnerability which we don't see with every VPN.
Turning to Avira Phantom VPN's Android app, we noticed one welcome advantage over its Windows cousin: a 7-day free trial, a more realistic way to properly test the service than the desktop's limited data allowance.
Otherwise, though, the mobile apps work much the same, though with many less features (no ping times on the location list, no malware blocking), although you can still have the app automatically protect connections on insecure wireless hotspots.
Experienced users might be a little frustrated by the lack of control, but Avira's target consumer audience will probably appreciate the app's simplicity, and it's certainly easy to use.
Avira doesn't make any specific claims about its unblocking abilities, so we put it to the test by checking out a number of popular sites.
The results weren't bad at all. Sure, Phantom VPN failed with Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, but its US Streaming location did allow us to access US Netflix content, US YouTube and Disney+, and that's better than we see with some specialist providers.
UK download speeds were a little below average at 50-55Mbps on a 75Mbps test line. Top VPNs typically manage 10-15Mbps more.
Performance was always very usable, though, for example peaking at 40Mbps for UK-US connections, and even UK-Australia round trips averaged 17Mbps.
We cross-checked our results by re-running the tests from a European data center, but despite a connection capable of 350Mbps, downloads peaked at 70-90Mbps.
Avira Phantom VPN isn't going to break any speed records, then, but it was always acceptable, with every location we tried giving us more than enough performance for most tasks.
Avira Phantom VPN's lack of features and underpowered apps will be a big issue for experts, but if you only need the VPN basics, or can live within the limits of the free plan then it might be worth a look.
Avira Phantom VPN is an easy-to-use VPN service brought to you by a renowned German company, best known for its excellent and widely used antivirus software. Keeping in mind the quality of its other products, we were interested to find out what kind of VPN protection Avira has created for its users. We were far from disappointed but did find that there was some room for improvement. Find out more in this objective Avira Phantom VPN review.
Avira Phantom VPN was created with the goal of providing high-quality VPN protection to everyone who may need it. You don’t have to know anything about VPN technology in order to set up and use the software. Just start the download, open the installer, follow the simple instructions, and your software is ready to use in minutes.
The client features a clean and modern design and there is nothing complex about it. You can simply turn the VPN on and off and easily access the settings, which allow you access to a few rather basic features, including the possibility to choose the desired server location. Read more about the available settings in the Features section of this Avira Phantom VPN review.
Performance and Reliability
Avira Phantom VPN operates servers in 20 countries around the world, including the most popular locations such as the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Netherlands. The number of servers and server locations is not particularly impressive, but it is sufficient for most users. Also, new countries are constantly added to the list.
During our speed tests, we have identified great differences in the software’s impact on speed across devices. With the desktop version, the speeds were satisfactory but mostly average and varied depending on server location. On the other hand, the speeds were more than impressive with the mobile version. The stellar results, both on Android and iOS, show that this VPN service is among the best around when it comes to mobile use.
The overall performance was extremely smooth, we did not experience any dropouts, and we are happy to say that we did not detect any IP or DNS leaks. We also like that you get unlimited bandwidth with your subscription, so you can browse, stream, and download care-free.
Avira has not exactly gone the extra mile when it comes to platform compatibility. Avira Phantom VPN supports Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS. However, it does not support all versions of Windows, only Windows 7 and higher. It is not compatible with routers.
What we love is the fact that with a single account, you can use Avira Phantom VPN on any device you own, as long as it is supported, and you can use it on as many devices as you wish simultaneously. Being used to only a limited number of simultaneous connections, we were rather impressed by this feature.
Avira Phantom VPN offers high-level encryption and smooth performance and keeps no logs of your activity. You can use it on as many devices as you wish at the same time and enjoy unlimited bandwidth.
Strangely enough, there is no mention of P2P sharing on the website. We have contacted customer support, but we did not get any concrete information, apart from the fact that the availability of P2P sharing depends on the laws of the country where the server is located. Therefore, we can conclude that P2P may be an option, but not with all servers.
We have mentioned before in this Avira Phantom VPN review that the Avira Phantom VPN client allows access to a few basic features. You can switch between servers, enable auto-start at system startup, and allow the software to automatically establish a secure VPN connection when using untrusted Wi-Fi networks. You can also choose whether you wish to allow sending diagnostic data to Avira.
You can use Avira Phantom VPN to bypass geo-restrictions, stream all kinds of content wherever you are, access gaming servers, and safely connect to unknown or public networks. The speed is good on desktop computers and surpasses expectations on mobile devices.
The software features DNS leak protection, as well as a kill switch, thus offering you a high level of security. It does not keep logs of your activity and uses practically bulletproof encryption for great anonymity.
Security and Privacy
The Avira Phantom VPN website does not clearly state which protocols the software uses, but only highlights that it features the strongest AES 256-bit encryption. Upon thorough inspection of the Support section, we discovered that authentication is done using SHA512 and the connection is established over SSL/TLS.
The company takes pride in not monitoring your activity, with the only data tracked being that related to bandwidth use and information on whether you are a paying or free user. Avira Phantom VPN also tracks diagnostic data in order to improve the software, but you can disable this form of tracking.
Unfortunately, paying via BitCoin is not an option and you have to enter basic personal data when purchasing a subscription. Still, with bank-grade encryption and no logs of your activity, the software brings you a high level of privacy.
Avira Phantom VPN offers excellent customer support. Its website is a great place for finding all kinds of answers, as well as asking questions and joining discussions. You can make use of the simple and useful FAQ, browse the Support section with ease thanks to the search field, and check out the blog and forum.
You can also contact email or phone support and get a helpful and prompt answer from Avira’s friendly staff. If you are in a hurry, you can stop by the Answers section and contact the available experts via live chat.
The pricing is simple with Avira Phantom VPN. You can choose between monthly and annual subscription.
- Monthly plan ($10 per month) – Multi-device
- Annual plan ($6.50 per month) – Multi-device, saves 35%
- Mobile monthly plan ($5.99 per month via in-app purchase) – You can use Avira VPN only on one mobile device
You can pay via credit card, Webmoney, PayPal or wire transfer.
If you want to try out the service, you can download the free version of Avira Phantom VPN and get 500 MB of bandwidth per month without registration or 1 GB with full registration. If you are not satisfied with the service after purchase, there is a 30-day money back guarantee.
Avira VPN Pros & Cons
As we wrap up this Avira Phantom VPN review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.
- Strong 256-bit AES encryption
- Keeps no logs of your activity
- DNS leak prevention
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Excellent user support
- Incredibly easy to use
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Limited free version
- Not compatible with all major platforms
- Not many server locations
- Does not accept BitCoin
On the surface, Avira Phantom VPN looks like a worthy competitor in the personal security industry.
The company provides OpenVPN protocol as well as AES 256-bit encryption. Potential customers with more robust requirements also may appreciate the relatively solid ability to watch Netflix with proxy errors and to download torrents.
Avira makes it possible for customers to connect multiple devices simultaneously. There’s even a kill switch to sever a connection if the VPN becomes unavailable.
However, users are bound to see a drastic reduction in data transfer rates whenever they turn on this VPN. This makes for a frustrating experience, regardless of what you’re doing online. Also, the bad news is the fact that Avira has its headquarters in Germany, so if you’re a fierce privacy advocate, this may not be the VPN for you.
Avira Phantom VPN Overview
Security and Encryption
Avira Phantom covers most of the major operating systems in the industry, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. At this time, no other operating systems are included. The type of operating system that you are running will determine which VPN protocol is managing your connection.
Users running Windows or Android will automatically connect via OpenVPN, which has the recognition as an industry standard. MacOS and iOS systems will connect via IPSec. Though perhaps not as popular, IPSec still offers plenty of reliability and protection.
Unlike other VPN providers, Avira does not offer a choice when it comes to VPN protocols. However, since they are offering two of the best in the business, this is unlikely to be a deterrent for many people. Potential customers who may prefer other protocols for specific applications may want to look elsewhere.
Avira provides free and paid versions of its services. The paid version of any VPN service is virtually always the best bet because it likely offers additional privacy and protection. This is undoubtedly the case here, as only customers who are paying have the advantage of Avira’s kill switch. If you don’t want to find yourself suddenly exposed online, you’ll have to pay for it.
Avira Phantom does go the extra mile by stopping DNS leaks. This additional layer of security makes it more difficult for outsiders to monitor the DNS requests that your computer makes to visit websites.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Server Network
This metric is where Avira’s shortcomings begin to come to light. While many VPN providers in the industry boast expansive server networks that feature thousands of servers in more than 100 countries, Avira can’t compete.
That’s because they have approximately 40 servers located in just 20 countries. Avira is a German company, and the vast majority of its servers can be found there and in neighboring European countries such as Spain, the U.K., Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
Avira Phantom does have an international presence with servers also located in Singapore, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. In fact, Avira has about a dozen servers in North America, but their coverage in other regions is pretty dismal.
South America is represented by just one location, and customers in Africa and the Middle East won’t find any local servers that are managed by Avira. Like many VPN providers, Avira’s website notes that they are always working to expand their network, but no details regarding these efforts are disclosed.
The upshot of having such a small server network is that data transfer rates are bound to be considerably slower. Each server has a limited amount of bandwidth. As more users try to connect to the same server, traffic gets bogged down. Another consideration is the lack of geographic diversity in Avira’s network.
Your data transfer rates will tend to be faster when you connect to a server that is close to your actual location. If you live in a place where Avira does not have any local servers, you can expect incredibly slow web traffic.
Is Avira VPN Compatible with BitTorrent or P2P?
Checking in with Avira’s customer support team revealed that the company makes no distinction between the types of traffic that go through the VPN. This means that torrenting and P2P file sharing is allowed. Moreover, Avira does not limit such activities to only specific servers. Of course, with so few servers available, you can expect any torrenting or file sharing activities to take a frustrating amount of time.
Speed Test Results with Avira Phantom VPN
The reasons for using a VPN are many. Most people are looking to protect their online privacy since ISPs, hackers and other parties always seem to be spying on their activities.
A VPN is the perfect way to disguise your physical location, hide your IP address and make sure that no one can track which websites you visit or what you do while you’re there.
The trade-off for this protection is speed. Although some of the top-rated VPN services can rival the lightning-fast data transfer rates of an unprotected connection, Avira is not one of these, according to our test results.
Much of this slowdown is related to Avira’s anemic server network. Without a higher number of servers, the company’s speed test results are unlikely to improve anytime soon.
Before turning on Avira, benchmark testing had the results with download rates of 98.71 Mbps and upload rates of 53.00 Mbps. Turning on Avira yielded some truly disappointing results. Download rates were now only 6.98 Mbps with upload rates clocking in at 9.02 Mbps.
This initial test was completed using one of Avira’s servers in the Netherlands. A successive analysis was carried out using a server located in North America.
These results were even more abysmal.
With rates of 4.34 Mbps for downloads and 2.23 Mbps for uploads, it’s clear that Avira isn’t going to be winning speed tests anytime soon.
For those of you keeping track, those numbers are a full 95 percent lower than those achieved without Avira running. It’s safe to say that no one is going to be satisfied with that kind of performance.
That’s because we’ve all become so accustomed to super-fast load times. Long gone are the days of the dial-up modem and having to wait for minutes for a website to load. Today’s load times are instantaneous unless you’re using Avira.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the days of the dial-up modem, then maybe you want to give Avira a whirl.
Does Avira Phantom VPN Keep Logs?
Many VPN providers talk a good game when it comes to “no logging” policies. However, when you get into the fine print, you discover that there is quite a bit of data that they keep. In a refreshing change of pace, Avira openly discloses which data they are tracking.
Their disclosure notes that they do maintain data concerning diagnostic issues so that they can detect and fix bugs and other problems. Similarly, the company keeps tabs on which customers are using the free service and which ones are paying as there is a cap on the data that can be used by the “free” customers each month.
Nonetheless, the company also says that they do not keep any records concerning the websites that their customers visit or other online activities.
How Much Does Avira Phantom VPN Cost?
Avira does offer a limited version of its services for free. As mentioned before, this coverage comes with restrictions. Customers are only allowed to use 500 MB of data per month. If you are a heavy Internet user, then you’re likely to exhaust your monthly allotment within just a few days.
However, the free version may be adequate for some people, and it does come with encryption, DNS leak protection and access via multiple devices.
If people want to have similar coverage without the data restrictions and a few helpful extras, then it’s wise to go with Phantom VPN Pro, which is the paid version of the service.
People who pay for Avira get the kill switch that automatically ends a browsing session if the VPN should become unavailable. They also benefit from having access to customer service reps who can help with all sorts of questions. Of course, like many things connected with Avira, customers tend to report that reps are slow to respond to queries.
The paid plan costs just $10 per month, which is a bargain. However, it’s not necessarily money well spent when considering the slow data transfer rates and lack of customer support.